How To Calm An Excited Dog In The Car
Does your dog always evolved into something untamable whenever it enters the car? Most dog owners are experiencing having problems in keeping their dog calm, and I was one of them. Dogs love to be outdoors and you cannot blame them for being so excited when they know you are taking them out for an adventure. There are some methods to calm your dog down in a car and in this article I will share my tips.
Ways you can calm a dog down in a car ranges from training and prevention, fixes, medication, and lastly punishment. I personally do not recommend some of those methods, but they do work. Nonetheless, before you even implement these methods, first ask yourself this. Is your dog really excited? Or is it being anxious? More on this later.
Training And Prevention
Now this is the best way to calm your dog. And because of that, it is the most difficult to implement. These methods does not involve money (ok it does but not as much), but it does involve lots of time and patience. We are talking about training inculcating your pooch a new behavior. Those who have done any form of dog training before would probably flinch upon hearing this.
Yes, it is tough work, but it the greatest payout. No pain no gain.
Stop The Car
Along the way during your drive, if the dog start to become excited, exhibiting behaviour like a dothraki doing his war cries, find a place to stop your car. Then, just do nothing!
Give it a good solid 5 to 10 minutes of silence in the car. It should dawn on your dog the point you are intending to get across.
Leave Your Dog In Car
Now this might be a punishment that I do not really advocate, but it might work on your dog. when you reach your destination, leave your dog in your car instead of taking it out. This can be done even on simple routine trips to the supermarket or the grocery store. If your dog behaved well during the car trips, take them out for a walk around a park nearby or whatever. If not, leave them in the car, do your chores, and just go back home. End of adventure. I can imagine the sad face on my dog right now if I were to do this, but it is how they will learn, probably the hard way, that being by quiet will they get to enjoy walkies with you.
Discipline is tough love.
However, do note that it might be a violation of the law to leave your dog in the vehicle in some states. Be sure not to violate them.
In any case, make sure your car's window is slightly ajar for ventilation purpose.
Lastly, if it is during a hot summer day, please skip this lesson. It is a torture to leave your dogs in the car in the heat and I strongly abhor this act. This video explains how this act is likened to murder.
Reward Quiet Time
When the dog exhibits the moments of quietness, reward him with his favorite foods. This is an indication to them that they are doing something right. However, it might be unfanthomable for them to understand how they can get the treat for this case as silence is a signal as subtle as itself. So you must make sure to be consistent when you reward your dog and it will not be long before your dog understands this pattern.
That said, be really careful not to give treats when they are being boisterous. You are rewarding and promoting the wrong behavior and you should seek to avoid that at all costs.
When training is not enough, you will need some quick fixes. As it implies, this may work on your breed and if it does, it will be a mere temporary solution. But nonetheless, it proved effective for my dogs and I would encourage you to use them as well.
There are certain kinds of dog treats with ingredients that induces calm. Some of the formulas come with meat flavor that is a great favorite among dogs. I believe there is no brocolli flavor by the way.
Anyway, if you plan on getting one, try Zesty Paws Calming Bites.
This calmin treat is chicken flavored and I can bet with you that it will be loved by your dogs. Its all-natural formula will calm the excited ones that turn into cerebus on your car rides. From the feedbacks I have gathered from my friends and families, Zesty Paws Calming Bites has proven to be extremely effective on dogs. No wonder it is a Amazon Best Seller.
If chicken is not your dog's favorite, I have a list of other calming treats that I strongly recommend as well. One of them will definitely work to your dog's flavor.
If you are worried about the weight of your dog and don't advocate the idea of using a treat to keep them calm, I will recommend using a dog calming spray.
These spray contains ingredients that can induce calm and reduce stress and anxiety in dogs. I frequently use them during car travels as an alternative to using calming treats that have an adverse effect on the dogs' weights. I use them frequently during car travels to great success.
They can be simply sprayed within the car or used as topical medication, that is to spray on the dog and give them a cuddly rub. Take care NOT to spray directly at their muzzle or their eyes. It will cause irritation as these are chemicals.
Pheromone collar, or dog calming collar, is another accessory that can be effective to get your dog to chill the woof down during car rides. These collars exude pheromones that stimulates that brain of your dogs to relax, much like aromatherapy (more about this soon!).
These collars has an "expiry date" where after a certain period of time, the smell will wear off and the collar needs to be changed. The Relaxivet Adjustable Calming Collar, which I personally recommend, has an expiry of 30 day.
Once again, this is a "subscription model" as a solution to calm your dog as compared to training.
Do learn more about other dog calming collars that I recommend and some money saving tips before making your purchase.
In fact, check out my article on the side effects of using a dog calming pheromone collar before deciding on whether this is the fix you want to proceed with to calm your dog in the car.
Aromatherapy is an effective method to calm your dog in the car. After all, dogs have a keen sense of smell and this works aptly with their biological system.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils as the main ingredient to diffuse the calming scent in a closed environment. There is no better situation that to use it in a car.
The tricky part about aromatherapy is to ascertain what scent works best for you and your dog. It must be one of the calming scents that work on dogs, but at the same time, you have to like the smell. Afterall, you are in the same car as your dog.
I personally recommend the Canine Coddler Pet Anxiety Essential Oil which has work extremely well with my dogs. My favorite part about it its 100% natural content. I am pretty skeptical about artificial checmicals when it comes to essential oils, so this caught my attention. The fact that its smell is to my liking and it can calm my dog effectively is more than what I can ask for. I have reviewed other essential oil choices as well in this article.
I have written an article about the safety tips and considerations when diffusing essential oils around dogs.
Distracting your dogs from thinking about the trip and getting excited might be another method that can keep it from running around or barking in the car.
Using their favorite chew toys or TV programms as a distraction will divert their attention away from the impending destination and reduce their excitement.
Some dogs get excited at watching the sceneries in the car pass by. I must admit that I do too! This is probably the character of an adventurous soul whether you are a dog or a human.
If you see your dog barking or looking out of the window excitedly, he is on of us :) Maybe he was Marco Polo in his previous life. Who knows?
The solution is simple. Use a blind or a polarized filter to cover the side door windows. Once the source of excitement is gone, calm ensues.
The most effective method, in my opinion, and one which I personally do not rally for, is the use of medication. Dog sedatives, especially for car travels, are usually used on dogs with car sickness or anxiety by inducing drowsiness and cause the dogs to fall into a slumber. So we can see how it will work on an excited one.
Using medication unnecessarily is not advisable, although I sometimes do during emergencies where I had to have them under control but the above fixes were still not able to contain my little rascals.
Benadryl is the most common sedative used on dogs.
Another form of training is using punishment. I believe this technique is really up to your character and opinion; a case of tough love vs soft love.
One way to punish the dogs for being so exicted in the car is the use of crates. Imprisoning the dogs in crates reduces the freedom they used to have. They will learn to behave subsequently when they are allowed to roam free in the car.
Dogs are great companions but dealing with hyperactive dog breeds can bring a lot issues to dog owners. Dogs have anxiety and car sickness; some would even vomit while on a road trip. Which is dog owners needs to learn how to calm a hyper dog so they can feel comfortable while travelling.
It takes time and discipline to make your dog get used to the environment of travelling, but once they feel comfortable with it. You can definitely harvest the fruit of success and bring your dog with you anywhere you travel, even in long hours.